A mountain lion famous for crossing Los Angeles’ freeways 101 and 118 has been found dead more than two weeks after he survived the Woolsey fire, National Park Service officials announced Friday.
The 4-year-old male, P-64 was one of 11 mountain lions tracked by the park service. His GPS collar transmitted radio signals on November 26 and November 28 but stopped on December 3 after the cat had wandered for several miles.
Wildlife biologist Jeff Sikich hiked to the area and found P-64 dead at the bottom of a grassy canyon near a streambed. A necropsy is planned to determine the cause of death.
When the Woolsey fire first sparked on November 8, P-64 was north of Oak Park in Simi Hills. In an interview with L.A. Times Sikich stated:
“He basically had two options. He either had to enter an urban area that had many firefighters, loud fire engines and people fleeing and a lot of noise or retreat onto the burned landscape.”
P-64 was fitted in February 2018 with the GPS and soon earned the name “The Culvert Cat” because he learned to use a long dark culvert under the freeway. He’s reported as crossing the freeway 41 times. The culvert is also a danger because P-64 wouldn’t have been able to see from one end to the other and the culvert also floods in heavy rain.
He managed to cross the deadly freeway but was unable to survive the fire which is probably why he died. His paws were burned. He travelled a lot since the fire and was located in an unburned part of of the Simi Hills. There were hopes that he’d manage to survive but alas no.
Scientists believe P-64 fathered four females born in May 2018 but will need DNA testing to confirm. A young male, P-74, who was still traveling with his mother, is also believed dead.